There goes my August spending money

Yowzers. It’s been 7 years since I bought the house.

And it’s been four years since I bought the car.

At the time I bought the car, the dealer I bought it from had just paid the rego, so it’s due every August. This year it’s $696.50.

Obviously because I bought the car in August, the insurance is also due every August. $369.05 (It can be paid monthly, but this is 15% more expensive.)

And… you guessed it… the house insurance is also due. $673.35

Can someone remind me, when/if I decide to upgrade the car at some stage in the future, not to do it in August?

  • I also just got a rates notice… happily the next installment for that isn’t due until late September.
  • A reminder why, despite their groovy advertising and the promise of cheaper premiums for people who don’t drive much, I don’t insure with Youi

Actually do plan to use a little spending money: to help fund From Bedrooms to Billions, a documentary on the beginnings of the UK video game industry. Nostalgia ahoy!

I’ve donated $100. And that was before I discovered the music they’ve used for the trailer — which starts at the 3 minute mark in the following video:

From Bedrooms to Billions – Teaser Trailer from GRACIOUS FILMS on Vimeo.

Unwanted phone calls, and a higher premium? Youi insurance FAIL

Got my car insurance renewal from Bingle. $375.10. I’ve had it there since 2009.

Thought I’d quickly look around at insurers known to take low car usage into account.

PayAsYouDrive… whipped through the form, and it came up with $426.50 for the minimum 5000 kms per year of driving. A more conservative 7000 kms came back as $477.80. So they’re out. (By the way, their web site has improved since the problems I had with it in 2009, which at the time prompted them to respond on my blog. But it doesn’t appear to cater for anything other than a policy starting today, even though I was already currently insured. Odd.)

Youi. Asked for a mobile number to send me a PIN. Annoying, but they say it’s to prevent robots getting into their system. Not sure I believe that, but ok, I went through web form, got to the end and…

…it announced I’m a “preferred customer”, and, without giving me the option: one of our highly skilled advisors is busy calling you right now to finalise your quote.

Sure enough the guy rang up a minute later.

I was cranky. I didn’t want a phone call. I hate making phone calls about insurance, and I don’t have the time. That’s why I used the web site. Heck, this type of transaction is what web sites are made for.

I told the guy so, and asked him to pass that on to his management, and I reluctantly agreed to have him ring back later. (5-6 minutes on the phone, he promised.) After all, perhaps it would be cheaper than Bingle… though it would need to be a significant amount to overcome the inconvenience of the phone call, and the deceptive web site.

You know what Youi, you’re not getting off to a good start on the whole customer-relationship front. If I’d wanted to discuss it on the phone, I would have clicked the “Quote by phone” button instead of the “Quote online” button.

Youi web site

So anyway, I took the subsequent call. The bloke was polite, quick and professional, but the questions included nothing they couldn’t have asked online.

Except this: he asked who I was currently with, and what their premium was. He said Bingle is a hard one to compete with, and Youi’s cover is better, with more benefits (which may well be true, but what do I care if I have never ever claimed, and drive so little that, touch wood, I’ll never have to?)…

Here’s the kicker: He said that the best premium they could offer me is $466.85.

Yes, after all that, after wasting my time with an unwanted phone call, Youi was $91.75 higher than Bingle.

I think at this point you can guess who’s getting my money.

Two things I hate

Kingsway - from Nearmap.comTwo things I hate are getting up early, and driving in heavy traffic.

This morning I did both, for the sake of The Car.

The Car was bought from Alan Mance in Melton. (“Don’t take a chance, go to Alan Mance.”)

To maintain the three year used-car warranty (which mind you only covers certain types of faults, and under fairly specific circumstances), I need to take it back to them every 6 months for a service, or a “safety check” if it’s not due for a service (which it rarely is, as I drive so little).

Thankfully I don’t have to go all the way to flippin’ Melton for that; but the closest one is in Footscray.

This either involves being organised enough to stay at Marita’s overnight (which I didn’t do), or getting up way earlier than I’m used to and driving across town in an effort to beat the traffic.

So this morning I the alarm went off at about 6:25, I was conscious and eating breakfast a few minutes later, in the shower at about 6:50, and out the door by 7:10. Now I know some would be scoffing at this and saying that’s not early at all. But it is for me.

Brad with the traffic on 774 was saying it was a CFMEU rostered day off today, and this was helping the traffic. I can only assume it’s pretty horrible normally then, because I got stuck on Brighton Road, St Kilda Road, Queens Road, and Kingsway.

Sure, it was only for a short period each time, but it really makes me appreciate that I don’t have to fight my way through the traffic every day. I don’t know how people do it.

So could I beat the traffic getting the car home? I checked with my sister, who works in South Melbourne and sees it every day — she said Kingsway is fine at 4:55pm, but clogs up just after five.

Originally they’d said the car would be ready at 4pm. Plenty of time to get across the bridge before 5pm. But then wouldn’t you know it, they rang at 3:15 saying it was advisable to replace the external drive belt (whatever the hell that is, apart from another $140), revising the pickup time to 4:30. D’oh!

As it happened I turned onto Kingsway just after the 5pm radio news came on.

And actually, it wasn’t too bad, and I made it home in one piece. Maybe that CFMEU RDO really did make the difference.

Shopping around for insurance

As I noted in March, a bunch of my annual expenses fall together. This is a consequence of having bought both my house and my car in the month of August. Apart from the insurance on both of them, the car rego also happens to fall in August.

I had been pondering why my home and contents insurance renewal cost was so expensive. This in turn led me to wondering if the contents was actually worth insuring. Sure there’s the fire risk, but in terms of theft, I have very little that is (a) worth very much and is (b) likely to be stolen.

Instead of just blindly renewing like I have previously, I shopped around and to my surprise found that AAMI gave me an online quote that was about half the price I’d been paying. I seem to recall that the old company I’d been going through had stopped taking on new policies, and my assumption now is that they were trying to price themselves out of the market. Well it’s worked on me. Presto, $400 saved!

Last year I needed car insurance in a hurry, and went with AAMI (which will cost me $545 to renew), noting that when I had more time, being someone who uses his car less than most, I’d check out Pay As You Drive.

I really like PAYD as a theory. But the problem with their web site is that it can’t handle someone like me who three days per week parks his car in a street near a railway station. They’re web site wants an exact address. I queried this via their online form and they said to ring them up to get a quote.

I suppose insurance is all about risk, but do they really take into account this level of detail when calculating the premium? Wouldn’t a postcode be sufficient? In any case I hate ringing up companies and spending time on the phone because their web sites are broken like this, so I keyed in a guess as to where I might park to get an indicative quote. It came out at $385, based on 8000 km of driving for the year, which is my best guess at the moment.

Then I got a quote off Bingle, which is actually an online-only budget subsidiary of AAMI. (Online-only and budget suits me fine give I’ve never had to make a claim.) It came out at $462, with unlimited kms, and no getting fussy about where you park in the daytime.

How busy am I this week, and how much do I hate dealing with this stuff over the phone? Well I’ve got a few more days to get it organised, but if I don’t have the time to make the call, I suspect the answer will be $77.

Update lunchtime: I went back into the Bingle online quote and confirmed the details (and possibly added some stuff that wasn’t in the preliminary quote) and to my surprise the premium dropped to $418.66. It may have been because I originally said I bought it less than 12 months ago, but it turned out to the web site this means since September 2008. Since I bought it in August, this appears to count as more than 12 months go… perhaps having owned the car for longer and not having claimed means lower risk? Oh well, whatever. Sold!